Jose Mourinho: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t

Jose Mourinho projects his expectations from his players.

What he said:

“The same thing as ‘a project’. The project has to be flexible. The project is never the same from when we start to when we end. It’s like at my house. You change, I don’t like this door, you change. The windows.”

Jose Mourinho compares his footballing strategy to a project. He believes that players and tactics have to be flexible and adaptable.

Mourinho said:

“I prefer my team to press in a low block, but if the opponent prefers to build from the back, and they are fantastic, it gives them huge stability in their game – I’m going to press there. Liverpool wanted to play with Suarez behind the defenders, Sterling the same thing, and Steven Gerrard in front of the defenders. So I go there, I play Lampard on Stevie G, I play my block completely low. I win. And I’m criticised because I [am not allowed to] play that way. So I am the stupid one. I’m not fundamentalist. And I think some people in football are becoming a bit fundamentalist.”

What he really meant:

 “Just like the scope of a project changes with every iteration, the way my team plays depends on the opponent’s style of play. I adapt to the situation accordingly. I am not rigid.”

What he definitely didn’t:

“Of course, I have to keep my stakeholders and especially my sponsor happy. And did I mention that I can always jettison players when the transfer window comes around? That’s how flexible I really am.”

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Ian Chappell: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t

English: Image of Australian cricketer Ian Cha...
English: Image of Australian cricketer Ian Chappell. Courtesy of the National Archive of Australia. The NAA has given permission for the image to be used under the GDFL license. Confirmation of this permission has been sent to the OTRS system. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ian Chappell raises his index finger to doctored pitches and biased adjudicating.

What he said:

“The players need to be careful where tit-for-tat pitch preparation might lead.'”

Ian Chappell is not keen on cricketers’ insistence on having wickets that suit them in home series. The former Australian skipper was responding to Shane Watson’s desire for bouncy pitches in the upcoming series against India.

Shane Watson
Shane Watson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Watson said:

“We are hopeful that the groundsmen are going to make the grounds very conducive to what we do, because in India they certainly make sure the conditions are favourable to them.”

Chappell, writing in his column, commented:

“I was reminded of two things when I read that quote. The first was a story told by Tony Greig about playing first-class cricket in South Africa.

It was at a time when umpires were appointed by the local association and the standard had dipped alarmingly. Greig described how the Western Province players would tell their local umpires to ‘send off’ the Transvaal batsmen because that was the treatment they received when playing in Johannesburg. In the end the situation became so dire the players declared a moratorium and agreed to ‘walk’ when they knew they were out.

That situation didn’t last long and soon chaos reigned.

The other was a comment concerning players who decide an umpire is either weak or incompetent and the team agrees to ‘appeal for everything’. Those teams are often the first to complain when the umpiring in a match is below standard. Hence the often-heard and eminently true comment: ‘Beware you don’t get the umpiring you deserve.’

The same could apply to pitches if players are going to start demanding retribution from the home curators.”

Chappell added:

“I’d go one step further and say that as captain, if I’d asked any Australian curator for a certain type of pitch, the answer would have been: ‘Get stuffed. I’ll prepare the pitch, you play on it.'”

What he really meant:

“Tit-for-tat reactions will create a dysfunctional relationship and ruin the ethos of the sport. It also breeds one-dimensional cricketers who cannot adapt to different situations and conditions. It’s  not going to produce great cricketers, but home-grown bully boys.”

What he definitely didn’t:

“How about a tit for two tats instead? Also, you ought to keep in mind that if Team India fold in three days or less, Cricket Australia will lose out on all that gate money and television revenue.”

Shamil Tarpischev: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t

Shamil Tarpischev is de-fined by his misogyny.

What he said:

“Williams brothers…Look at our athletes–elegant and beautiful. I have tremendous respect for them [Williams sisters], but once one of the sisters passed next to me, and I found myself in her shadow for about forty seconds. They are so physically powerful. Weren’t you afraid to play against them?” 

Venus Williams playing World Team Tennis in Ma...
Venus Williams playing World Team Tennis in Mamaroneck, NY (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Russian Tennis Federation President Shamil Tarpischev made a hash of a television show referring to the William sisters, Venus and Serena, as men casting aspersions on their beauty, style of play and domination of women’s tennis in a single disparaging remark.

Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) CEO Stacey Allaster responded harshly to Tarpischev’s provocative comments with a $25,000 fine. Tarpischev has also been suspended from any involvement with the WTA for a year.

Allaster’s full statement:

“The statements made by Shamil Tarpischev on Russian television with respect to two of the greatest athletes in the history of women’s tennis are insulting, demeaning and have absolutely no place in our sport. Serena Williams and Venus Williams are champions on and off the court – outstanding human beings, incredible sportswomen and amazing role models who have done so much to inspire women and girls around the world to achieve their dreams.

The WTA was founded on the principles of equality, opportunity and respect, and Venus and Serena embody all of these attributes. Mr. Tarpischev’s statement questioning their gender tarnishes our great game and two of our champions. His derogatory remarks deserve to be condemned and he will be sanctioned.

As a result of his comments, I have ordered Mr. Tarpischev to be fined $25,000, the maximum allowed under WTA rules. In addition, he will be suspended from any involvement with the WTA for one year and we are seeking his removal from his position as Chairman of the Board of the Kremlin Cup for one year. His re-instatement will be dependent on good behavior. Mr. Tarpischev’s private letter of acknowledgement is a start. However, Mr. Tarpischev owes Venus and Serena Williams a personal apology, as well as other players and tennis fans everywhere, a public apology.”

What Shamil Tarpischev really meant:

“I really don’t like powerful women especially when they can beat the socks out of me (and everybody else) at tennis.”

What he definitely didn’t:

“How about a Bobby Riggs type of match-up, Williamses?”

Serena Williams at the 2008 WTA Tour Championships
Serena Williams at the 2008 WTA Tour Championships (Photo credit: Wikipedia)




Ijaz Butt: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t

Ijaz Butt has a seaside catch in Shahid Afridi.

What he said:

“Misbah is an innocent captain, if someone else given the statement over captaincy, he will be thrown in the sea.”

Ijaz Butt renews his feud with Shahid Afridi taking umbrage at the all-rounder’s statements about Misbah-ul-Haq’s captaincy. The remarks sparked speculation that the 40-year-old will step down as skipper for the World Cup given his recent run of low scores.

Afridi said:

“Every captain has his own approach and I can’t be Misbah and Misbah can’t be Afridi. If he is comfortable with his approach then what is the problem? But players around him should not become Misbah. Each player has his own strengths and he should carry out what he is capable of rather than suppressing himself.

If he [Misbah] is winning matches with his approach then what is the problem? I am different and have an aggressive nature. I love to play aggressive cricket because people in my country are aggressive, my players are aggressive and I want them to play aggressive cricket. I love watching them playing aggressive in the field. I know when they play aggressive cricket, they are expressing themselves.”

Shahid Afridi during Pakistan's tour of New Ze...
Shahid Afridi during Pakistan’s tour of New Zealand in December 2010. Scorecard. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He added:

“Earlier, the time and the atmosphere was different after the spot-fixing. It was tough to gel the dressing room but I treated every player accordingly; younger were given affection and some needed to be given fear of the stick. You know our nation runs on the strength of a stick.

But captaincy in Pakistan is a challenge. I was aggressive even off the field. It haunted my earlier stint. I have learnt the lesson though; things should be operated amicably. But my mindset in the field is the same as a leader is the one who should decide the playing XI, he is the one who has to get his boys to fight on the ground. He knows what he wants and he is the one who has to face everything after the match. Whoever is the captain, he should be given ample authority to pick his best players.”

The stick Afridi refers to was very much in evidence when the controversial and temperamental talent recanted his criticism of Misbah.

He clarified later in a statement issued by the Pakistani Cricket Board (PCB):

“Let me state at the very outset, Misbah is the best choice as Pakistan captain for the ICC World Cup 2015. I have always backed him to the optimum whenever I have played under him, just as he had when I had the honour to captain the Pakistan team.

I have said this before, and I reiterate, that I shall continue to serve Pakistan Cricket and fully support Misbah to the best of my ability.

This is my final statement on the issue.”

Ijaz Butt was PCB chief when Afridi was sacked as captain of the T20 and ODI sides in 2011 on disciplinary grounds.

What  Butt really meant:

 “I don’t really like Shahid Afridi. I like Misbah. He’s a lamb. Afridi’s a shark. He should be thrown back into the ocean.”

What he definitely didn’t:

 “You know that we can’t let Afridi go, at least, not until the World Cup’s over. So…”



Virat Kohli: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t

Virat Kohli does not mind being repeatedly out.

What he said:

“For me it doesn’t matter if I get out playing the same shot again and again, at least I am feeling clear and confident in the mind.”

Virat Kohli is back to his usual cocky self on recovering some semblance of form against the West Indies with a somewhat laboured fifty in the second ODI.

What he really meant:

“I could always eschew the shot, you know. At least, I’m not playing and missing. And hell, my batting’s sure missed by the team and the fans.”

What he definitely didn’t:

“Just like it doesn’t matter to me that the arm-chair critics keep harping on my relationship with Anushka Sharma. I am clear and confident in my mind about her.”

English: Anushka Sharma at a Band Baaja Baaraa...
English: Anushka Sharma at a Band Baaja Baaraat press event (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Christian Kwesi Annan: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t

Christian Kwesi Annan has a jersey for life.

What he said:

“I am saving it for life. I’m not going to trade it for anything. I’m going to frame it, put it on the wall and then treasure it.”

Hong Kong may have been trounced 7-0 by Argentina in a friendly but Ghanaian-born forward Christian Kwesi Annan is far from unhappy.

The striker swapped shirts with Lionel Messi at the end of the game.

Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Annan said:

“He (Lionel Messi) said I am the best player in my team, and asked to exchange jerseys with me.It feels amazing. I have a lot of respect for him. I tried to challenge him and couldn’t get the ball from him. He is very pacey.

Watching Messi on TV you think it’s easy to take the ball from him but it is impossible [in reality]. He has quick feet.”

What he really meant:

“Lionel is the best footballer on the planet. I’ll treasure his shirt more than any goals I score. He’s an inspiration and his jersey is mine. Now I can always visualize myself doing a Messi. I’ll build a new wall too if I have to.”

What he definitely didn’t:

“I wish I had bought tickets for the game and watched it from the sidelines. That way I could have enjoyed his play without having to run around chasing him, his team-mates and the ball.”


Saqlain Mushtaq: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t

Saqlain Mushtaq is on terra firma with regards to the art of spin bowling.

What he said:

 “Why not? A person is made of this earth, which has not been discovered completely yet.”

Saqlain Mushtaq is confident that the doosra—the off-spinner’s googly—can be bowled legally without flexing one’s elbow beyond the stipulated  limit of 15 degrees permitted by the ICC.

Mushtaq said:

“I have always believed you can definitely bowl it with a legitimate action, working on various aspects of your body. You can bowl the doosra with your fingers, wrist, elbow, shoulder and you can even get it right with your foot positioning. Every individual has his own physique. If you don’t have strong shoulders you can execute it through you wrist and fingers and use elbow to bowl a faster one. In either case you have to have strong control over your wrist and ensure it doesn’t collapse. And without the kink you can safely bowl a doosra within the permitted flex.”

Mushtaq additionally believes that a new mystery ball can always be devised  and added to the craft of spin bowling.

He said:

Why not? A person is made of this earth, which has not been discovered completely yet. So when you start thinking and start experiencing deeply, then you start experimenting. And then what you produce, that is a real invention.”

What he really meant:

“Ashes to ashes, dust to dust and God created man from clay. The earth and specially the seas have not been fully explored. And who knows what elements may still be discovered? Necessity is the mother of invention. We sub-continental chaps are about jugaad, my friend. We’ll make do somehow, 15 degrees or less.”

What he definitely didn’t:

“And Muttiah Muralidharan is made of plasticine.”

Anil Kumble: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t

Anil Kumble defaulted to skipper status.

What he said:

“‘ok, Anil is the only guy and let’s give it to him’.”

Anil Kumble tells a tale of his ascendancy to the most exalted position in Indian cricket—the captaincy of the national side.

Kumble said:

“I became captain after representing India for 17 years, so, probably, I became captain by default… Because nobody else wanted it..

Rahul Dravid had just given up the captaincy and at that time, it was probably too early for (Mahendra Singh) Dhoni to step in as the Test captain… Sachin (Tendulkar) also did not want it… So they looked around and said ‘ok, Anil is the only guy and let’s give it to him’.”

What he really meant:

“I was the only one in the Fab Five (Sachin, Saurav, Laxman, Kumble and Dravid) willing to take up the onus of leading the country. I got it not because they felt I was the most deserving candidate but because they felt they could not risk putting Dhoni in the hot seat for a tour of Australia right then. It was way too early and he could have fizzled out given the additional pressure. At least, that was the opinion of the then bigwigs (selection committee).”

What he definitely didn’t:

“I wanted it, though, oh , how I wanted it. And I made it mine and how. Success—thy name is desire.”

Michael Kasprowicz: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t

Michael Kasprowicz does know what pressure is.

What he said:

“What pressure does to you is make you doubt your skills.”

Former Australian fast bowler, Michael Kasprowicz, draws upon his cricketing acumen to chart up success in the business world. Kasprowicz is an MBA from the University of Queensland Business School in Brisbane and now Managing Director of advisory business, Venture India, which promotes business relations for Australian companies in India.

Kasprowicz said:

“I was first picked for Queensland at the age of 17, and had a cricketing career of 19 years. Throughout my career, I never looked for the easy option. I wanted to test myself out in something entirely different; hence I went and did the MBA.”

Kasprowicz adds:

“What I learnt from my career is something I’ll classify in my own 4 Ps—perceptions, dealing with pressure, appreciating that there’s pain and most importantly, possession, the thought that you are in charge of your own journey. In cricket, there are uncontrollables that can always influence decisions—the weather, the pitch, umpiring decisions. It doesn’t matter how well you prepare, quite often, they can dictate or change the result. That lesson in itself is the most important thing, because of the ownership of your journey, you’re not relying on anyone else. You can take control of what you’re doing.”

The pacer believes in adapting his skills to suit the conditions.

He said:

“In 2004, (when Australia won a Test series in India after 32 years), we sat down as a bowling group and decided that we had to change it around a bit. We could not be doing what we did at home and expect to do well as a unit. Businesses come to India and think what they’ve been doing normally would work here in India too. That’s not arrogance as much as it is naivety. You have to be flexible, adjustable and adaptable to the market here and also see what the consumers want.”

So how does Kasprowicz deal with losses?

He says:

“I’ll go back to my Ps, and this time deal with pressure. What pressure does to you is make you doubt your skills. When all of a sudden an organization or cricket association goes through a few losses, it’s almost like a major GFC (global financial crisis) where everyone starts doubting their skills and questions the way they’re doing it. From a sporting background, whenever you have a few losses, we have a performance review. It’s important to go back and draw the straw man again.

I know the Australians get a bad tag for being sledgers, but all that, when you break it down, is to make someone not think about the ball that’s coming down and to doubt their skills, that’s all there is. There are other ways to make them doubt their skills—through field placements or the Three Card Trick (keep a deep-square leg, making the batsman anticipate a short ball, when the bowler delivers a fuller ball). When you’re under pressure, when you’re having a few losses, trust your skills—the ones that got you there, and the ones you’re the best at, but also have the conviction to adjust those skills to suit the conditions.”

What he really meant:

“When you’re under pressure, you tend to doubt yourself and wonder if you should be doing things differently. If the skills are not ingrained, you tend to revert to older, more tried-and-tested methods instead of continuing with the newly learnt skills. That’s what pressure does, that’s what questioning yourself does to you.”

What he definitely didn’t:

“Pressure causes some people to shut down. And brings out the best in others. How’s that for a cliché? Or would you rather prefer, when the going gets tough, the tough get going.Over to you, Ravi (Shastri). “

Darrell Hair: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t

Darrell Hair thinks its hairy that Saeed Ajmal could bowl at 45 degrees or more for so long.

What he said:

“Well, every man and his dog would have known that.” 

Darrell Hair is bemused with the recent crackdown on illegal bowling actions launched by the ICC.

The Australian umpire, who famously called Murali Muralitharan in 1995, said:

“Whatever they’re doing now, they’re doing 20 years too late. They had a chance in 1995 to clean things up and it’s taken them 19 years to finally come back and say they want chuckers out of the game.  I can’t believe that Saaed Ajmal has been able to bowl as long as he has, and they say he is bending his arm by 45 degrees [the legal limit is 15 degrees] or something. Well, every man and his dog would have known that.

I suppose what it does show is the general weakness of the umpires over time to do anything about it.”

He added:

“People say ‘you should be happy with the way things turned out’…with the chuckers being weeded out. But it doesn’t give me any personal satisfaction whatsoever. All I was doing at any time was just doing my job and I think I did it to the best of my ability. The fact was that no other ICC umpires were willing to have a go. Ross Emerson was very adamant about his thoughts about chuckers but they soon put him into the background. 

I suppose I was lucky I had a few games under my belt so they didn’t want to target me, but they certainly got him out of the way fairly swiftly. It’ll be interesting to see how many umpires are brave enough to get involved in it. I said it in the late ’90s that if something wasn’t done about it you’d have a generation of chuckers on your hands and now you have. They try to emulate Harbajan Singh and Saqlain Mushtaq and Murali and that’s the problem. The crackdown should have happened on those players and the ICC should have let it be known that it wasn’t acceptable.”

ICC general manager of cricket operations, Geoff Allardice, believes the game has reached a tipping point on this issue.

He said:

“The game had reached a tipping point on this issue, when many groups within the game felt that there were too many bowlers with suspect actions operating in international cricket.The most prominent of these groups was the ICC Cricket Committee at its meeting in June, when it observed the ICC’s reporting and testing procedures were not adequately scrutinising these bowlers. They weren’t the only ones talking about this issue, as similar views had been expressed by teams, players, umpires, referees and administrators.

Since that time the umpires have felt more confident to report their concerns with certain bowlers, and their concerns have been supported by the results of the testing of these reported bowlers.”

In India, the irrepressible Bishan Singh Bedi could not resist firing a few salvoes of his own at his favourite peeve.

He said:

“I would like to see what happens to Bhajji (Harbhajan Singh) and Pragyan Ojha, now that umpires are reporting bowlers for throwing and action is being taken against them.”

Bedi added:

“The rectification had to come from the establishment.It’s no doubt late, but better late than never.” 

On the timing of the clampdown:

“Timing doesn’t matter for goodness. It was ugly to watch chuckers floating around – someone throwing javelin, some shot put and others darts.” 

What Darrell Hair really meant:

 “If you know it, your best friend knows it.Besides, should the umpire be looking at the bowler’s arm or at the batsman? How do umpires measure the angle with the naked eye? Trained dogs, perhaps? Something like sniffer dogs, eh? Can we umpires have compasses please?”

What he definitely didn’t:

 “I knew it and I was labelled a dog for it, wasn’t I?